ROANOKE, Va. – A custody battle between former Roanoke Times Hokies beat reporter and the paper's parent company came to fruition Tuesday.
BH Media, the parent company of The Roanoke Times, is suing Andy Bitter, the paper's former Virginia Tech athletics beat reporter, for the rights to his Twitter account.
The suit was filed on Tuesday in federal court by BH Media, which is seeking "a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction arising from misappropriation of its trade secrets, computer crimes."
According to the case filed in U.S. District Court, Bitter was hired by a direct competitor of the paper, The Athletic, and refused to hand over the account upon his departure.
The account was created in August 2010 by a different reporter and was handed over to Bitter in October 2011 when he became the Virginia Tech athletics beat reporter, according to court documents.
Once Bitter was hired, court documents show he was required to sign a document that states he must hand over any company-issued equipment upon leaving the paper.
The suit did not say how many followers the account had when Bitter received it; however, as of Tuesday, the account has more than 27,000 followers.
"The account would cost at least $150,000 to recreate, but would likely never be created in the same form, with the same follower list," the suit alleges.